Raising a confident pooch

Raising a confident pet means teaching your pet about our complicated world and guiding him through it. There are many things that contribute to a pet’s personality and temperament, so let’s understand them together.

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More often than not, we forget that dogs are a completely different species from us and even though they have been intertwined in our lives since a long time, there are many things about the modern world that dogs no not understand. Here are some things you can do as a pet parent to raise a happy, sociable and confident dog.

Spirited socialization – this key will unlock a new personality

Socialization is a word we use often, but most people do not know what it really means in the dog world. Socialization by definition is the process of exposing your puppy to the world in a positive way. The socialization period in puppies lasts up to 12 weeks. What you do in the socialization period plays a crucial role in how your pet will perceive the world as an adult. Give your pup lots of positive experiences and teach him to focus on you in every new situation.

It is vital that you do not overwhelm your pup and make sure they are always allowed to move away from the situation if they want to.

Trail ahead with good training

Training your pup also has many advantages, but the most important one is that it helps your pet understand the human world which can be quite complicated and overwhelming at times. It helps pet parents build a line of communication with their pet that will help them guide the pet in every situation. This reduces the uncertainty and creates structure. Training also helps build confidence and strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend.

Training your pup leads to an adult dog with more freedom and stronger bond and understanding between you two. Important commands for every puppy –

  • Come when called
  • No or leave it
  • Stay or stop moving when asked
  • Leash walking
  • Sit/Down as basic commands

Keep training sessions short and remember to have fun.

Taking care of their physical and mental happiness

When we think of play or exercise for our pets, we usually think of walks or runs. While these are great, your pet has an amazing mind that also need to be worked upon. Dogs are as smart as a 2-year-old human baby and we usually underestimate our pet’s intelligence because of their goofiness. However, most dogs were bred for a purpose and need an outlet for it.

For example – Golden retrievers were bred to retrieve, when they do not find an outlet for that they start to pick up random things at home and running around with those things. We use games like fetch and tricks like “delivering the newspaper” to help them meet these breed specific needs. So, letting your pet be a dog and doing more of what they love is crucial for their confidence and happiness.

Alone, not lonely!

This is the hardest one for new pet parents because all we want to do when we have a new pet is be with them. But it is crucial that we focus on quality time over quantity time. Puppies who spend all their time with pet parents tend to become co-dependent and never learn how to cope with life by themselves which can be very hard to manage for both you and your pet. It may also lead to separation anxiety and insecurity. In order to raise a confident pet, it is crucial that you teach him how to enjoy his own company and be relaxed even without your presence.

Giving choices, and the power of decision making

Just like us humans, our pets have clear likes and dislikes but usually have no control over their lives whether it is their meals, walks, toys we get to decide everything for them. So, it is important to give your pet the freedom of choices. It could be something as simple as which ball do they want to play with or which direction they want to walk in. Ask your pet what he would like to do and empower him to make these choices.

Dogs have always played a huge role in the lives of humans. The world is getting complicated, but these lovable beings are such pure souls that sometimes it is hard for them to keep up with the pace of the world. It can be challenging for some pets to understand our world, their perception to life is very different from us and it truly takes a village to raise a confident pet. It is your duty as a pet parent to understand your pet and their world just the way they try their best to understand ours.

(Taarini Upadhyay is a certified canine behaviorist and trainer, Goa)

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